Press Release

Women in Aerospace (WIA) Foundation, Inc. Announces 2011-2012 Scholarship Award Recipient

By SpaceRef Editor
March 24, 2011
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Washington, DC – The Women in Aerospace (WIA) Foundation, Inc., is delighted to announce Ms. Salvador A. Valdes as the recipient of the WIA Foundation Scholarship. Ms. Valdes, a senior in aerospace engineering at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), will receive a $1,000 scholarship to be applied to the 2011-2012 academic year.

Ms. Valdes is a private pilot, avid motorcyclist, poet, and undergraduate researcher in the aerospace controls lab at UCLA. Inspired by her physics teacher, Ms. Valdes recognized her desire to set goals, learn, and solve challenging problems – all characteristics of an engineer. This realization came late in high school, however, and left her without the stereotypical high school preparation of high grades and extracurricular activities. To achieve her dream, Ms. Valdes worked her way through community college, earned her private pilot license, and transferred to UCLA where she is at the top of her class with one of the strongest work ethics as noted by her references.

“Sal is clearly a risk taker who trusts in her own ability to succeed and produce high returns,” said Debra Facktor Lepore, WIA Foundation President. “She has an honest and refreshing outlook on the hard work it takes to become an aerospace engineer, and she finds joy in tackling obstacles rather than seeing them as a burden.”

The WIA Foundation scholarships are funded by generous donations of individuals and corporations around the aerospace industry. The WIA Foundation Board, WIA Board, WIA officers, and several companies have made a commitment for ongoing financial support. The WIA Foundation Endowment Fund will create a stable, long-term source of income to fund this annual scholarship and enable gradual expansion for additional scholarships and higher dollar values. In addition, the WIA Foundation offers Named Gifts for an individual, family, or corporation to recognize a special person, organization, or achievement through a scholarship or specific educational program.

“The WIA Foundation is investing in the next generation of women in aerospace,” Lepore said. “The incredible response to our scholarship application, from so many high caliber young women pursuing technical skills that are much needed in our industry, inspires great confidence for our future workforce.”

The scholarship will be presented at the 26th Annual WIA Awards Banquet on Tuesday, November 1, 2011, at the Ritz Carlton Pentagon City Hotel in Arlington, Virginia. This event draws over 300 people to celebrate the tremendous accomplishments of women throughout the aerospace community.

For more information and specifics about the 2011-2012 scholarship, contact

The WIA Foundation’s mission is to educate the public about the importance of space exploration and technology and to increase awareness in, and knowledge of, the scientific fields that will develop inventions and intelligence that will lead to improved space travel, satellite technology, and other applications of space use.Established in 2009, the Foundation accomplishes its purpose by providing scholarships to women who study engineering, math, or science at the undergraduate level, thus encouraging women to enter careers in the aerospace field, expanding women’s opportunities for leadership in aerospace, and increasing women’s visibility in the aerospace community.

The Women in Aerospace Foundation, Inc. is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.All contributions to the organization are deductible to the full extent allowed by law.

WIA Foundation
204 E Street NE
Washington, DC 20002

SpaceRef staff editor.